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Coast Guard demonstrates cold weather oil response technology


The Coast Guard Research and Development Center, located in New London, Connecticut, and the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Juniper worked throughout the week to demonstrate and evaluate new technologies to use when responding to oil spills in harsh cold weather environments.

The technologies include a prototype ice cage to keep ice away from an oil skimmer as it collects spilled oil from the water’s surface, a temporary storage device for collected oil that can be mounted on the deck of a vessel, and methods to decontaminate personnel who have been working in an oiled environment.

"The lessons we've demonstrated here and in the other tests clearly illustrate the feasibility of using technology to solve the issues surrounding oil spill cleanup in ice conditions,” said Kurt Hansen, a project manager at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center.   “The ice cage, for instance, has been shown to be a valuable tool for keeping ice away from oil skimmers, keeping their brushes clear and working more efficiently.”

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U.S. states agreed to keep Exxon climate-deception probe secret: here's why


As far back as the 1970s, Exxon conducted research that confirmed the occurrence of climate change—and that burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to it.
But the company—now ExxonMobil—largely kept that research under wraps, while funding campaigns that denied the science of climate change for decades.
This deception came to light last year, triggering multiple state-level investigations into the oil giant.
In early May, 15 states signed a pact that forms the basis of a joint investigation into whether ExxonMobil deliberately misled the public by contradicting research from its own scientists.
That agreement includes a provision that seeks to keep prosecutors' deliberations secret, but is also broadly written so that investigations may be expanded to other fossil-fuel companies, reports Reuters, which examined a copy of the document.

Congress passes bill ratcheting up Mackinac pipeline safety rules

June 9, 2016

Congress has sent a bill to the president's desk that includes stronger safety measures for Great Lakes pipelines prompted by concerns about the threat of an oil spill from the Enbridge Line 5 gas and oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.
The Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act unanimously cleared the U.S. Senate in March and the House of Representatives on June 9. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law this month.
The legislation, which reauthorizes the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through 2019, includes provisions that designate the Great Lakes as an "Unusually Sensitive Area" with higher consequences should a spill occur. Pipelines in or near the lakes would be subject to greater safety standards.

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Tugboat engineers accused of polluting Lake Huron


Absorbent diapers, a garden hose and a blue bucket were just some of the tools used in a scheme to dump oily bilge water from a Great Lakes tugboat into Lake Huron, causing a slick spotted from the air that was twice the length of a football field.
And now, two engineers from the tug Victory are accused of conspiring to discharge the oil-contaminated water into Lake Huron and other areas of the Great Lakes. They're also accused of releasing the dirty water at night to make it difficult to detect the resulting sheen.
According to a federal grand jury indictment handed up last month, Jeffrey Patrick, chief engineer aboard the Victory, and William Harrigan, first assistant engineer, allegedly released the oily water into Lake Huron from mid-May 2014 through the end of that June. The indictment does not say when or where other discharges occurred.

Deepwater spill pollution lingers on seabed


Dirty oil residues from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remained for years on the seabed, killing wildlife despite large-scale cleanup efforts, a study has revealed.

The study found that in January 2011, nine months after the spill, large patches of oil residue still covered the ocean floor around the spill site. The area had previously been declared clean after the surface of the surrounding waters had been found clean of oil.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on 20 April 2010 due to human error, causing around 5 million barrels of oil to spill out — with months going by until the leak was capped near the ocean floor.

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